A snake handling preacher and star of the reality show Snake Salvation died yesterday after being bitten by a snake.
Jamie Coots, a Kentucky Pentecostal pastor who starred in a reality show about snake-handling, died Saturday night after he was bitten by a venomous snake during a church service. After being bitten Coots refused medical attention that might have saved his life, “on account of his belief that God would not allow him to die from a snake bite.”
Snake handlers like Coots draw their inspiration from a literal interpretation of the King James Bible, which says in part that “they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”
Raw Story reports snake-handlers believe that their ability to hold, and occasionally dance with snakes comes from what are called “the signs of the gospels,” which are found in Mark 16:
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
No report on the welfare of the snake; however, it seems certain that Coots will be a frontrunner in this year’s Darwin Awards.